OPPOSING VIEW: Is Jay Cutler ready for Ndamukong Suh and Co.?

Posted Nov 9, 2013

Chicago Sun-Times NFL writer Adam Jahns takes a look at Sunday's Lions, Bears game

This week’s Opposing View comes from Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times. Jahns is in his second season covering the Bears for the Sun-Times. He previously covered the Blackhawks for three seasons. You can follow him on Twitter at @adamjahns

1. From what you've seen of Jay Cutler in practice late this week, is he ready for Ndamukong Suh and that active Lions defensive front?

Jahns: Cutler looks fluid in his dropbacks and appears to have no issues stepping into his throws. Backup quarterback Josh McCown said Cutler was really "spinning" the ball around the other day, looking like his old self. Tight end Martellus Bennett went as far as to say that it was as if Cutler had never missed a practice.

That said, are you really ever ready for Suh? Even if Cutler was 100 percent healthy, Suh and the Lions' D-line could ruin that with one big hit. The biggest test for Cutler and his rehabbed groin will come when Suh and others do get to him.

2. What has the emergence of Alshon Jeffery over the last month or so meant for the Bears offense?

Jahns: It's meant more one-on-one matchups for Brandon Marshall. Take what happened last week against the Packers as opposed to 2012. Green Bay rolled safeties over Marshall in both games last season and used press coverage to impede his routes. The results? Eight catches for 80 yards and a touchdown for Marshall in two losses.

In the Bears' 27-20 victory against the Packers last week, Marshall had seven catches for 107 yards and a touchdown. Jeffery had five catches for 60 yards and a score.

Marshall and Jeffery have really emerged as one of the top receiving tandems in the league, using their size to create mismatches for the Bears' revamped offense.

3. Who is one player Lions fans might not know who could have a big impact on the game?

Jahns: Defensive end David Bass. The rookie may start against the Lions with second-year defensive end Shea McClellin -- who just had a breakout, three-sack performance against Green Bay -- listed as doubtful with a pulled hamstring.

Bass was originally drafted by the Raiders in the seventh round out of Missouri Western State. He was cut by the Raiders and then claimed by the Bears in September. The Bears have been ecstatic about Bass' progress. He's earned more and more playing time since his debut against the Saints on Oct. 6.

4. It’s odd to see the Bears rank in the bottom of most defensive categories, including points, yards and rushing defense. What’s been the biggest issue besides some of the injuries they suffered?

Jahns: Well, you can't discount the injuries. Losing defensive tackles Henry Melton and Nate Collins to season-ending knee injuries has completely shaken up the line. Rookie linebackers Jon Bostic and Khaseem Greene are starting with D.J. Williams (torn pectoral) and Lance Briggs (fractured shoulder) out. Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) and defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe) also appear to be just getting over nagging injuries.

That said, there's no excuse for the Bears' tackling woes. It was a problem against the Lions in Week 4 when running back Reggie Bush literally leaped over safety Major Wright on a 37-yard touchdown run and was a major issue last week against the Packers when Eddie Lacy ran wild.

"It’s not an easy thing to fix," coach Marc Trestman said. “This is universal throughout the league because of the way we train now because of training camp. There’s very limited time to tackle. For us, it’s just the cost benefit of not doing it in training camp, of waiting to do it in the preseason and during the season. We certainly have to get better. Part of that is fitting the run better. We’ve got to do a better job."

5. The Bears will win if …

Jahns: This turns into a shootout. Being at home and having Cutler back will help the Bears. Both teams have issues defensively and if Cutler and Co. avoid the turnovers they had in their first meeting, there will be plenty of offensive fireworks -- with the Bears setting off more on their home field.  Coach Marc Trestman -- as seen in McCown's success in Green Bay --  has his offense humming along right now.